It didn’t take long for crowds to descend on Portico, the newest restaurant from chef Paolo Randazzo and his wife, Rhonda, in the former Edible Garden spot out River Road in eastern Goochland. Buzz about the well-financed project was rampant while the construction evolved into a major landscaping project that highlights a stone terrace and large fireplace overlooking the countryside.
Inside the redesigned dining rooms, Randazzo serves an accessible menu of mostly Italian appetizers and entrees, with his signature pastas and meats — seafood cannelloni, leg of lamb, salmon roulade, eggplant puttanesca — in the under-$20 range. Burgers, pizzas and salads include classics that are $10-$13. The green granite bar has attracted neighbors from the start, although Randazzo hoped to gear up slowly in announcing the project.
Rhonda Randazzo is ebullient: “We’re taking 90 calls a day — I’ve never seen anything like it. You’re in Goochland, but in Italy too, especially outside. It’s friends and families building special memories already.” An upstairs dining room seats 20; the terrace and interior hold 40 seats each.
The business closes on Sunday evenings for private events and also caters for neighboring Tuckahoe Plantation. Garden Graces manages the restaurant’s flower beds and kitchen garden, where arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, lettuces and herbs are in season.
Portico serves dinner Monday through Saturday from 5-9 p.m., and will add lunch hours in November. 12506 River Road. 784-4800. opentable.com.
Carytown’s newest: A gut job is in progress at the former Ellwood Café coffeehouse on Thompson Street, its fixtures removed and being readied for a new home in the former Blockbuster space across the parking lot. Owner Michael Ripp, formerly of Havana ’59, is bringing in a new look to the vacated cafe space, and will serve grass-fed burgers, salmon, salads and other health-oriented fare with wine and beer. A large brick cow will dominate the back wall décor, booths will be added and the street-side patio will be enclosed.
Beer at Amuse: In a rare Tuesday evening event, Amuse at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts stays open late Nov. 8 for a beer dinner to celebrate Richmond Beer Week. The five-course meal will pair brews with seasonal fare, costs $75 for museum members, $80 for others, and tops out at 100 reservations. Tickets are sold through vmfa.museum or 340-1400. Look for a fall cocktail list and early autumn menu at Amuse, which is the museum’s third-floor dining room and winner of Style Weekly’s 2011 Restaurant of the Year in our annual State of the Plate issue.
New to the market: Strawberry Street Vineyard announces a free tasting with live acoustic music to introduce new local brewer Hardywood Park products to Richmond. The event is Oct. 28, 5-8 p.m., at 407 Strawberry St. 355-1839.
Olio: New downtown location for gourmet sandwiches, salads, quality deli foods. Espresso bar and breakfast sandwiches weekdays 7-10 a.m.; lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 600 E. Main St. 775-9597. oliorichmond.com.
Hard Shell at Bellgrade: Midlothian sibling of longtime Shockoe steak and seafood spot; full bar, outdoor dining, classic menu. Open nightly from 4. 11400 W. Huguenot Road. 464-1476. richmondrestaurantgroup.com.
Carytown Bistro: New ownership for former Betsy’s and Bin 22; house-baked pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, panini, coffees, lemonade. Local art and live music, Craft beers, wine. Outdoor patio, friendly service. Open daily. 26 S. Auburn Ave. 340-0272.
La Parisienne: Crepes, cassoulet, soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts in quick-service bistro with Euro finesse from chef Cedric Payne; breakfast and lunch until 6:30 p.m. weekdays, live jazz and wines Thursdays until 9 p.m. 200 S. 10th St. in the Williams Mullen building. 225-0225.
Station 2: Big burger menu, local sourcing for casual pub grub in renovated firehouse. Craft beer, patio. Monday-Thursday, 3:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. 2016 E. Main St. 249-4702. station2richmond.com.
Stella’s: Greek cuisine in boisterous neighborhood newcomer, family tables, longtime Richmond chef Stella Dikos, family-run. Weekday lunch and meze ora; dinner nightly except Sunday; brunch Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 1012 Lafayette St. 358-2011. stellasrichmond.com.
The Magpie: Vintage-style gastro-pub with game, fish, pasta, specials. Select wines, beers, cocktails in charming Carver corner cafe. Chef Owen Lane, top service. Dinner and drinks Tuesday through Saturday, 4-11 p.m. Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1301 W. Leigh St. 269-0023. themagpierva.com.
The Roosevelt: Casual reincarnation of Church Hill beauty with seafood, meats, desserts, adventurous and familiar foods, chef Lee Gregory, expert service, full bar, local wines. Dinner and drinks Tuesday-Saturday. 623 N. 25th St. 658-1935. rooseveltrva.com.
The Blue Goat: Relaxed Euro-inspired dining, charcuterie, pâté, seafood, nose-to-tail cooking; cocktails, patio in new Westhampton landmark from chef Kevin LaCivita. Lunch weekdays, dinner and bar Monday-Saturday. 5710 Grove Ave. 288-8875. bluegoatva.com.
Benny’s BBQ: Ribs, brisket, burgers, salads, onion rings, platters and Southern sides. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Full bar, friendly service. 3044 Stony Point Road. 320-7447. bennysbbqonline.com.
Jerusalem Restaurant: Extensive Middle Eastern menu in Arabic and English; lunch and dinner. 106 N. Seventh St. 771-1665.
Ironfish: Seafood, chicken, steaks, salads; comfy neighborhood spot with local foods, cocktails, full bar, veg and family options. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. 3061 Lauderdale Drive. 249-4515. ironfishrva.com.